Should Fort Wayne join cities like Tulsa in paying remote workers to move here?

For decades, cities and states have invested heavily in attracting large corporations, like Amazon, to locate to their communities.

So as remote work becomes the “new norm” at many corporations during COVID-19, some cities are pivoting their approach. Rather than attracting the corporation itself, what if you invested resources into attracting their remote employees instead?

Betting that remote work will play a larger role in the future, cities like Tulsa, Okla., and Newton, Iowa, are offering enticing incentives for transplants, like a $10,000 relocation award or a $1,000 housing stipend (see a list of incentives here).

Considering Northeast Indiana’s own growth ambitions on the Road to One Million, residents might wonder: Should Fort Wayne create incentives to attract remote workers here?

If you ask John Urbahns, President and CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., the answer is: We might not need to. John Urbahns

“One of the things we have going for us in Fort Wayne is that we have been seen as a growth market in recent years,” Urbahns says. “If you look at domestic migration, we’ve been trending up in a significant way without having to pay people to move here.”

For the third year in a row in 2019, Allen County attracted and retained residents at its best pace in the past two decades that the U.S. Census Bureau has been tracking net domestic migration. The county added a net 1,492 new residents via domestic migration, contributing to a total population growth of 1.1 percent, which outpaced the state and national rates of 0.5, as well as the Midwest regional average of 0.1 percent.

While 2020’s statistics won’t be released until April, Urbahns believes the growth will continue, noting that Fort Wayne was named one of U-Haul’s Top 25 Growth Cities last year, as determined by where renters are taking its one-way moving trucks.

“To me, that means, when the domestic migration statistics come out for 2020, we’re likely to be significantly positive again,” he says.

While it's too early to tell the ultimate effects of COVID-19 on Fort Wayne's housing market, realtors say residents from bigger cities are moving here.

Anecdotally, Urbahns has seen evidence of growth in 2020, too. Since the pandemic began, he’s heard about remote employees from bigger cities seeking respite in Fort Wayne during the pandemic.

“We’ve heard from residents who have moved back from New York or Chicago, and they’re like: ‘Why would I go back to a big city?’” Urbahns says. “Many of them are saying, ‘I’m so glad I’m not in my 54th story high-rise apartment where I was paying $24,000 a year in property taxes.’ We’re hearing those stories more and more often during the pandemic.”

To retain these new residents, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. launched a volunteer-driven program called Onboard Fort Wayne in October, which introduces newcomers to community leaders and connects them with locals as their “first friends” around town.

Even so, as remote work is poised to increase in cities across the U.S., questions still remain: What do remote workers think about paid incentives to relocate? What assets do they desire most in cities? And how does Fort Wayne compare to other markets?

We asked seven remote workers near and far (who worked remotely before the pandemic) to fill us in. While their experiences don’t speak for everyone, they do give us a glimpse into what this growing market of remote talent is thinking and feeling. And what they want to see in future cities.

 

Tyler Stellhorn Tyler Stellhorn

Age: 38

Occupation (title and company name): Director of Customer Experience at Hubstaff

HQ location (if any): None

Company size (approximately how many employees/across how many time zones, etc.): 80 across 14 time zones

Your remote work location: Fort Wayne, Indiana

How long have you worked remotely? How many years at your current job and before that? Since June 2019

Give us a brief background on what led you to work remotely.

I wanted to transition from a tech-oriented educator to an ed-oriented technologist.

How has your remote work experience been going so far?

Fantastic. I got promoted after 6 months.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of remote work, in general?

It's new so some of the norms have not settled that serve everyone.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of remote work in your current city, specifically?

I wish there were more great co-working spaces.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, what spaces or resources did you utilize in your city, as a remote worker?

Cafes, gym lobbies, and co-working spaces

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, what spaces or resources did you wish your current city had for remote workers (if any)?

Meetups

Have you experienced changes to your typical remote work experience since the pandemic began? If so, what are they?

I don't go out to cafes and co-working spaces.

As a result of the pandemic, what changes (if any) do you anticipate in the remote work environment in the U.S.?

There will be more.

In the future, how could your city better support/attract remote workers?

Infrastructure: neighborhood coworking

Have you heard about cities across the U.S. offering remote workers incentives to move there, and do you think these strategies would be effective at luring remote workers like yourself?

I am rooted in Fort Wayne, but I would consider incentives to work elsewhere.

If you plan to stay in your current city after the pandemic, what’s keeping you there as a remote worker?

Family

What incentives might entice you to stay in Fort Wayne?

I would like there to be tax breaks for co-working spaces and home offices.

What advice do you have for city leaders anywhere considering incentives or ideas to support remote workers in the future?

Think of the remote working community like any other large business enterprise. We celebrate such and such company adding 30 jobs or whatever. Think about remote workers in the same way.

Anything else you would like to share or say about the topic of remote work and the future of cities?

The freedom and flexibility makes my job feel like a day off of my previous co-located job every day.

 

Tahirah Nall Tahirah Nall

Age: 44

Occupation: Destination Recruiter Delta Technical College

HQ location (if any): Springfield IL

Company size: 200-500 employees Central Time zone. MS, AL, IL, MO

Your remote work location: Birmingham AL

How long have you worked remotely? How many years at your current job and before that? 2.5 years

Give us a brief background on what led you to work remotely.

My job was offered as a remote position. Birmingham is a new market for my company. The closest campus is Horne Lake, MS.

How has your remote work experience been going so far?

It has been great. I have a 7-year-old daughter, and it has helped me be more available with her school schedule and after school activities. It has also helped me save money on my elderly mother’s care since I am home most of the day.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of remote work, in general?

The benefits are that I have flexibility to do things that are needed at home and work. The drawbacks is not having the comradery of my co-workers and feeling like I'm alone on an island removed from everyone else

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, what spaces or resources did you utilize in your city, as a remote worker?

I utilized coffee shops and bookstores to work remotely and to add variety to my "office space."

Have you experienced changes to your typical remote work experience since the pandemic began? If so, what are they?

Since the pandemic, I am much busier than before. I had more autonomy before. Now I'm given lots of additional responsibilities.

As a result of the pandemic, what changes (if any) do you anticipate in the remote work environment in the U.S.?

I anticipate that companies will see how much they are saving on overhead cost, and they will start offering remote or telework options for future hires.

In the future, how could your city better support/attract remote workers?

Having more remote work stations and incentives for remote workers to move to our city. Birmingham needs a positive spotlight.

Have you heard about cities across the U.S. offering remote workers incentives to move there, and do you think these strategies would be effective at luring remote workers like yourself? Why or why not?

Yes, I have, and I am very open to working anywhere—especially if there are great incentives attached. I have always appreciated the autonomy that working from home gives me, especially with a young child and disabled parent.

If you plan to stay in your current city after the pandemic, what’s keeping you there as a remote worker?

I don't plan to stay, but the reason I'm here because this is my hometown.

If you don’t live in Fort Wayne, Ind., how much do you know about Fort Wayne, and what is your perception of it? What aspects of the city or incentives (if any) might entice you to move to Fort Wayne as a remote worker? If you do live in Fort Wayne, what incentives might entice you to stay?

I don't know much about Fort Wayne, but I have visited before, and I think it’s a fairly nice place to settle down.

What advice do you have for city leaders anywhere considering incentives or ideas to support remote workers in the future?

I would advise showcasing their city as a hotspot for independent workers and entrepreneurs and add housing incentives as a way to get them to stay.

Anything else you would like to share or say about the topic of remote work and the future of cities?

I have lived in four major cities (NYC, ATL, MIA, and LA), and working remotely in a smaller city has it's perks as far as a family, but not many resources for convenience. Larger cities have so many opportunities to capture the remote worker due to having lots of access to everything you need.

 

William Gray William Gray

Age: 47

Occupation: Software Architect, Salesforce

HQ location (if any): San Francisco

Company size: 40,000 employees-globally, but mostly in San Francisco

Your remote work location: Kitchener, ON, Canada

How long have you worked remotely? How many years at your current job and before that? 3 years remote

Give us a brief background on what led you to work remotely.

Wanted to leave SF for a more family-friendly location, and be closer to my parents.

How has your remote work experience been going so far?

Mostly excellent, with some downsides.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of remote work, in general?

Pro: No commute, choose where I live. Con: Reduced careers prospects, social isolation, time zone difficulties.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of remote work in your current city, specifically?

Pro: Tech-savvy city with lots of cafes and co-work choices. Cons: Hard to make new friends at this age.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, what spaces or resources did you utilize in your city, as a remote worker?

Cafes and co-working spaces.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, what spaces or resources did you wish your current city had for remote workers (if any)?

Resources to help on the initial move (eg. I had no home internet for the first 3 weeks and had to scramble about town, stealing wifi in back alleys from unsuspecting businesses). Social opportunities (eg. meet-ups).

Have you experienced changes to your typical remote work experience since the pandemic began? If so, what are they?

Cafes closed, so I am now at home all the time. All colleagues in SF are also WFH, so there’s a greater understanding of the difficulties.

As a result of the pandemic, what changes (if any) do you anticipate in the remote work environment in the U.S.?

More people will choose WFH options despite downsides.

In the future, how could your city better support/attract remote workers?

Offer relocation assistance to make the transition easier.

Have you heard about cities across the U.S. offering remote workers incentives to move there, and do you think these strategies would be effective at luring remote workers like yourself? Why or why not?

Have heard a bit, but doubt they'll have any real impact. People will either move to already desirable cities, or to "home town/state" cities to be near family. Focusing on the latter will be more fruitful. The article states remote workers tend to be highly paid. How much is $1,000 or $10,000 really going to influence someone earning $200k or more?

If you plan to stay in your current city after the pandemic, what’s keeping you there as a remote worker?

Stability for my family; close to family; city is "just the right size."

If you don’t live in Fort Wayne, Ind., how much do you know about Fort Wayne, and what is your perception of it? What aspects of the city or incentives (if any) might entice you to move to Fort Wayne as a remote worker? If you do live in Fort Wayne, what incentives might entice you to stay?

I've visited Fort Wayne, and it's a very nice city with lots going for it. However, there are hundreds of towns of similar qualities across the U.S., so it's hard to stand out regardless of incentives. It's not desirable enough to compete with Tier-A cities, and not near enough my family, so it never was an option for me.

What advice do you have for city leaders anywhere considering incentives or ideas to support remote workers in the future?

I would say it could be attractive to people who grew in the Chicago/Detroit/Indianapolis triangle who want to be "near" home, but not live in a big or small city, and have a lower cost-of-living. Other concerns when considering a move are other opportunities for my spouse, the condition of local schools, access to transportation, and opportunities for me as a remote worker, should I lose my existing job. My work paid for a "relocation assistant" in my destination city that helped me find a rental house, bank account, get a drivers license, etc. That took a lot of stress off my move.

Anything else you would like to share or say about the topic of remote work and the future of cities?

My gut feeling is the WFH revolution won't be as big as everyone thinks it will. The synergies of having employees co-located are too high to ignore, and the strain and disincentives of remote work will limit the overall effect. Still, a large number of people will shift to WFH and look for cities that are "just right" for a better quality of life.

 

Mary Ehlers

Age: 59

Occupation: Proposal (Bid) Manager; Forgen, LLC

HQ location (if any): Centennial, CO

Company size: 130 (full time) employees, 250 at peak project, all US zones

Your remote work location: My home, Fort Wayne, IN

How long have you worked remotely? How many years at your current job and before that? Six years total, and 4.5 years at my current company.

Give us a brief background on what led you to work remotely.

Originally hired to work in office in Michigan. Company reorg required I move, but they allowed remote since they would have to lose me. This allowed me to move to Fort Wayne. Since then the company was purchased and requires more of us work remotely.

How has your remote work experience been going so far?

Great. Some frustrations since I support the CA office and the 3-hour time difference.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of remote work, in general?

I have to travel to CA and CO offices, but lots of freedom during the day and flexibility on hours.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of remote work in your current city, specifically?

No direct flights to Denver and Sacramento airports, so travel takes longer.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, what spaces or resources did you utilize in your city, as a remote worker?

High-speed internet is critical. Otherwise none.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, what spaces or resources did you wish your current city had for remote workers (if any)?

I would like to have a professional connection with others in a similar role.

Have you experienced changes to your typical remote work experience since the pandemic began? If so, what are they?

Less travel, that's it!

As a result of the pandemic, what changes (if any) do you anticipate in the remote work environment in the U.S.?

None

Have you heard about cities across the U.S. offering remote workers incentives to move there, and do you think these strategies would be effective at luring remote workers like yourself? Why or why not?

Yes. Very effective for all, and I think it will be great.

What’s keeping you in Fort Wayne as a remote worker?

Love the city. Love the cost of living, and I have family nearby.

 

Taylor Hollister Taylor Hollister

Age: 24

Occupation: Marketing Consultant and Graphic Designer

HQ location (if any): Fort Wayne (now)

Company size: 1

Your remote work location: FW

How long have you worked remotely? How many years at your current job and before that? 7 years

Give us a brief background on what led you to work remotely.

I originally started working remotely because I was a freelancer, and the projects didn't require regular in-person connecting. I kept working remotely because my clients did not mind it, and I made sure to have excellent digital communication, so it wasn't a burden on my clients. Then, I started getting clients from around the country, so I couldn't move to just one place for a client when a contract could end in 30 days.

How has your remote work experience been going so far?

I absolutely love it. Sometimes it's frustrating when clients do not embrace great digital communication by using tools like Zoom and Google Docs to work through copy or Google Drive. It makes projects slower and more difficult to all be on the same page, literally. But the majority of my clients embrace this new world of digital communication.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of remote work, in general?

The benefits for me are being able to schedule my own work day and not get pulled in different directions, being able to work with people around the country, and getting to choose where I live. The drawbacks as mentioned earlier is that a lot of workplaces don't understand yet how to best work with remote workers.

Another drawback is that boundary setting is extremely difficult when you have others around you in the home that can also pull you away or distract you. I have definitely had to figure out what my boundaries are and learn how to communicate them with my husband as well as how to set them for myself. Another BENEFIT for me is that I can just get up and not have to spend time getting ready to be around people and instead knock things off of my to-do list. I know a lot of people still have to "get ready" to get into the work mindset, but I enjoy not having that boundary for myself and just diving into things.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of remote work in your current city, specifically?

The biggest benefit of my city is that it is small enough to where it is affordable, but big enough in that there is always stuff going on (pre-COVD) to inspire me and help me grow. The biggest drawback is that there is not tons and tons of people who have the capital to invest into services I provide like there would be in a larger town. This is why I get more clients from around the country rather than my actual city.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, what spaces or resources did you utilize in your city, as a remote worker?

I used to utilize all of the great entrepreneur support groups that held events regularly where you would get to connect with like-minded people and learn things to help your business. This is the biggest thing I miss as a remote worker in Fort Wayne.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, what spaces or resources did you wish your current city had for remote workers (if any)?

I wish we had more spaces like Atrium that were made for remote workers and didn't JUST accept them like coffee shops and maybe just filled a different niche for the community.

Have you experienced changes to your typical remote work experience since the pandemic began? If so, what are they?

Honestly, it's just gotten better because the people that didn't want to embrace digital communication are now forced to! I hope that this sticks post-pandemic.

As a result of the pandemic, what changes (if any) do you anticipate in the remote work environment in the U.S.?

I anticipate companies will embrace the idea of responsible remote-workers being able to have a hybrid schedule or go full remote-work. People are more productive when they're not chained to a single work environment all day and can get other tasks done like grocery shopping that gives them time to think about a problem they're trying to solve.

In the future, how could your city better support/attract remote workers?

We could attract more remote workers by having more affordable, but modern housing downtown! Everyone wants to be downtown, but there's not enough housing. We also need to make sure that leasing agreements have options for three months, so that people taking a chance on our town don't feel scared about signing a long lease.

If you plan to stay in your current city after the pandemic, what’s keeping you there as a remote worker?

What's keeping me here is our strong entrepreneur community and affordable living.


 

Britni Eisenmann

Age: 36

Occupation: CEO | GenElevate

HQ location (if any): Leo, Indiana

Company size (approximately how many employees/across how many time zones, etc.): Two employees, different states, but same time zone

Your remote work location: Home office that doubles as daughter's art studio

How long have you worked remotely? How many years at your current job and before that? 1.5 years

Give us a brief background on what led you to work remotely.

In the fall of 2019 I decided to start my own business, based on the work I had been doing in nonprofits in our area for the last decade. I started a business that could start with just me and a bit of capital and scale up as needed.

How has your remote work experience been going so far?

When everyone began working from home due to the pandemic, the internet availability became extremely variable in my neighborhood. No matter what 'level' I pay for, the same issues arise at 'peak' hours. This has been excruciating, as I give trainings via Zoom for corporate clients as one of my primary revenue streams. Now that things have lifted as far as social distancing guidelines, I can make use of spaces like the Atrium for key virtual trainings and presentations. I am also a mother, and the same thing happened to me as millions of other mothers. The brunt of the “labor” that came with the pandemic fell on me. I went from having the hours my children were in school to do my own work, to having only 4 AM-7 AM  and 9 PM-10 PM available to work. My kids are in elementary school and needed me to constantly be both physically and emotionally available during their e-learning.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of remote work, in general?

Benefits: If I need to take a break from my screen and just think about a problem, I can go do a mindless task (laundry, for example) that allows my creativity to work on the problem while I'm getting something done around the house that needs done. I'm not annoyed by extroverts popping by for small talk. Drawbacks: It is critical that I be able to jump in and out of 'work' brain/mode at a moment's notice. I also have to be able to get back to a work task with no 'ramp up' time as there just isn't time for that. There is no such thing as 'work' hours unless the house is empty. If they know I'm in the house, then they come to me with their want/need.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of remote work in your current city, specifically?

Benefits: Quiet environment. Drawbacks: Crappy internet when everyone is home.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, what spaces or resources did you utilize in your city, as a remote worker?

Mocha Lounge Coffee for a different work environment.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, what spaces or resources did you wish your current city had for remote workers (if any)?

A space with great lighting and killer internet from which I can do a professional presentation.

Have you experienced changes to your typical remote work experience since the pandemic began? If so, what are they?

Yes. Worse internet in our neighborhood.

As a result of the pandemic, what changes (if any) do you anticipate in the remote work environment in the U.S.?

More awareness of the hidden work that is put on women, and hopefully this moves organizational executives to allow HR to make real changes to combat this.

In the future, how could your city better support/attract remote workers?

1) Have a space where I can pay for a few hours to do a professional live training or record a professional training. This is SUCH a need for me. 2) Have consistent internet.


Have you heard about cities across the U.S. offering remote workers incentives to move there, and do you think these strategies would be effective at luring remote workers like yourself? Why or why not?

I am not the target market for moving anywhere any time soon. My spouse is licensed in Indiana, and I'm also not keen on changing one more thing in my children's lives this year by taking away their school and friends.

If you plan to stay in your current city after the pandemic, what’s keeping you there as a remote worker?

Personal and financial reasons. The little bit of equity we have in our home. My children's school district. Our great neighbors, especially their children who are friends to my kids. Once my kids graduate high school, we will move to wherever makes the most sense for our businesses. At that point, what cities have to offer will be heavily considered.

If you don’t live in Fort Wayne, Ind., how much do you know about Fort Wayne, and what is your perception of it? What aspects of the city or incentives (if any) might entice you to move to Fort Wayne as a remote worker? If you do live in Fort Wayne, what incentives might entice you to stay?

We did live in Fort Wayne for a year or so, and have also lived in Grabill, Winona Lake, and now Leo. The Atrium is a huge enticement! Any place where I could pay to do a live or recorded professional presentation would tick an important box for me.

What advice do you have for city leaders anywhere considering incentives or ideas to support remote workers in the future?

Fix our problems, such as: 1) Provide a space (it doesn't have to be big at all!) where the lighting, sound, and background are professional and there is good enough internet to sustain our Zoom training/presentation. 2) Give moms childcare and household upkeep support. 3) Make internet options decent and affordable, in general, in every part of the city. Hold internet providers accountable to their promises. 4) Give remote working sole-owner entrepreneurs free membership to groups like GFW.

 

 

Amber Elliott

Age: 36

Occupation: Project Manager (Community Improvement Advisor) - Community Solutions

HQ location (if any): New York, New York

Company size: 50-75 employees

Your remote work location: Redford, MI (suburb of Detroit, MI)

How long have you worked remotely? How many years at your current job and before that? 2 years

Give us a brief background on what led you to work remotely.

I moved to Hartford, CT to do neighborhood/community development work in the North End of Hartford. After a year my role transitioned to work on solving for homelessness, specifically how to ensure those in the neighborhood do not become homeless. The neighborhood/community is a Promise Zone so many initiatives were beginning, and some of them may cause unintended gentrification. Since the community was changing, it was now my project to understand how people were entering into the homelessness system and work with groups to shore up families to ensure that families or individuals did not enter into homelessness. My organization works remotely to assist communities to solve for homelessness. The team I transitioned on to was mostly located on the East Coast, but there were only two, including myself in Hartford. My community development work had involved working in a building but that building was being rehabbed for the community, and the new team did not require being in an office, so I began working from home in 2019 and continued on. Once the pandemic broke, my husband and I knew that we wanted to build a permanent home. We agreed on moving to Michigan, so that we could be closer to my family. My job supported the action, especially since I had already been working from home, and the team was all remote.

How has your remote work experience been going so far?

Although working from home can be a little draining, being accessible all the time for my family in this pandemic it is also a blessing. I am able to work out, be present for my daughter, ensure that everyone is fed well. I am also able to pretty much set my own schedule and have clear boundaries for work. I also like the fact that now that I am pregnant, I will be able to be there for my newborn without sacrificing my career.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of remote work, in general?

The benefits are being able to do work in a comfortable setting and save money on food and other items such as dry cleaning for work outfits. I also am able to take real breaks in a comfortable setting. As for drawbacks, I sometimes bristle at being so accessible to my family however that is truly due to the pandemic and having no outlets. I enjoy making my own schedule and again being present for my family.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of remote work in your current city, specifically?

The benefits of working remotely in my current city is being closer to family and being able to be a part of their lives. In the beginning, I was working remotely in a city that I had no connection in and although I had built a life there it was not ideal to continue raising my daughter or building my family.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, what spaces or resources did you utilize in your city, as a remote worker?

Prior to Covid-19, I worked from home. I had a separate room in my apartment that I would work in during the day. I would also travel to coffee houses when I wanted a change up.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, what spaces or resources did you wish your current city had for remote workers (if any)?

I wish there were more remote workspaces. There are workspaces, but they are highly coveted and only downtown and not in every neighborhood.

Have you experienced changes to your typical remote work experience since the pandemic began? If so, what are they?

Yes, in that I feel more urgency in my work since I work in non-profit, but other than the urgency, nothing else.

As a result of the pandemic, what changes (if any) do you anticipate in the remote work environment in the U.S.?

I anticipate more organizations allowing remoter work. I think more organizations are understanding you can still get quality without being a helicopter over your employees.

In the future, how could your city better support/attract remote workers?

My city could attract more remote workers by ensuring free wifi in public areas so that people can get out of their homes and experience other areas.

Have you heard about cities across the U.S. offering remote workers incentives to move there, and do you think these strategies would be effective at luring remote workers like yourself? Why or why not?

I haven't heard of cities, but I have heard of states. Hawaii is the one that comes to mind in that it is very appealing to do work in paradise. I also know some states in the Southwest/Plains area that also are trying to attract workers by offering incentives like loan repayment or paying for housing for a period of time or just straight money for a period of time. Those types of items are really attractive to me since I am a millennial trying to repay student loan debt and trying to establish a home for my growing family.

If you plan to stay in your current city after the pandemic, what’s keeping you there as a remote worker?

I am staying to stay connected to my family in addition to putting down roots, so that my children can have a stable life.

If you don’t live in Fort Wayne, Ind., how much do you know about Fort Wayne, and what is your perception of it? What aspects of the city or incentives (if any) might entice you to move to Fort Wayne as a remote worker? If you do live in Fort Wayne, what incentives might entice you to stay?

I know very little about Fort Wayne. I have a good friend who lives there and is doing a lot of community development work. I perceive Fort Wayne as a small town with a family appeal.

What advice do you have for city leaders anywhere considering incentives or ideas to support remote workers in the future?

I would consider incentives that would ease living expenses or pay down debt. I would also try to appeal to families in some way.

Read more articles by Kara Hackett.

Kara Hackett is a Fort Wayne native fascinated by what's next for northeast Indiana how it relates to other up-and-coming places around the world. After working briefly in New York City and Indianapolis, she moved back to her hometown where she has discovered interesting people, projects, and innovations shaping the future of this place—and has been writing about them ever since. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karahackett.
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